Jackson Browne has been one of the most prolific and popular songwriters of the last 50 years. Guitar players and students love to play his songs and certainly can learn a lot from putting in time learning them.
This set of lessons culls from his first few albums and includes some of our staff's favorites.
Lesson 1: The Road - Guitar Lesson
The Road, originally written by Danny O’Keefe, is the second track of the Running On Empty album recorded by American singer-songwriter Jackson Browne.
The arrangement is done in standard tuning and uses mainly open chords in the key of G, with some unusual ones in the intro. It features moderately fast travis picking, with only a few embellishments throughout the song.
Keep in mind, that even though there are several particular melody notes, especially in the intro, Jackson plays this quite randomly. The student is encouraged to do the same.
Lesson 2: Our Lady Of The Well - Guitar Lesson
For Everyman, Jackson Browne’s second album, released in 1973, is probably my favorite of his, and Our Lady Of The Well is probably my favorite song on it. It opens, connected to Take It Easy, with a simple, but beautiful little melody picked out in the key of G.
The song is very easy to strum and play, with a couple barre chords.
The lesson goes through the progression, the intro, along with a bit of a harmony part added to it before the second verse, and ends with some thoughts on soloing in G using parallel thirds and sixths on the top three strings.
Lesson 3: Something Fine - Guitar Lesson
In 1972 Jackson Browne’s debut album, sometimes referred to as Saturate Before Using, introduced us to one of the best songwriters of this generation. Something Fine is a delicate fingerpicking song that is not difficult to play but includes a very nice intro and interludes between verses. He plays it with the fifth string tuned down a whole step (to G) and the studio version had all strings tuned down another half step. In recent years he lowers it a whole step, giving us D-F-C-F-A-D.
The lesson is done at standard pitch with just the lowered fifth string and looks specifically at the intro and interludes, or endings, with a more generic look at the progressions used in the verses and choruses.
The chord shapes are very easy but you should have some familiarity with alternate picking patterns as they can and should be varied with every play through. There are some nice slides, hammer-ons and pull-offs that could prove a little tricky at first.
Lesson 4: These Days - Guitar Lesson
This lesson starts with a Campfire Version of These Days by Jackson Browne, and has added parts on the way he plays it live now - an acoustic fingerpicking arrangement, more like he originally intended. His original recording was done on his 2nd album, For Everyman, and this lesson combines elements from that refined version with some from Jackson's Solo Acoustic Volume 1, where he talks about the origins of the song.
Lesson 5: Song For Adam - Guitar Lesson
Jackson Browne’s first album, Saturate Before Using got him on the radio in 1972 with Doctor My Eyes but many of his songs had already been recorded by artists like Tom Rush and Nico. His debut album also contained Song For Adam, a tune written after the death of his friend Adam Saylor. This lesson goes over the fingerpicking intro and chord progression to the verses and choruses, leaving the patterns somewhat open to improvising, the way Jackson would play it over the years. A solid foundation in alternate bass picking will make learning this song relatively easy.
Lesson 6: Running On Empty - Guitar Lesson
Running On Empty, written and performed by American singer-songwriter, Jackson Browne, is the opening track of his 5th album with the same name and became one of his signature songs.
In the lesson we take a look at the acoustic version, based on his performances at ‘Later With Jools’ and the ‘Philadelphia Folk Festival’.
Even though the song features only four chords in the key of G, using the I IV V and VI, it does consist of a couple of different chord shapes. He also uses an alternate tuning, CGDGBD. The lesson covers the syncopated chord changes, a bass run and a few little riffs to dress up the playing.